This is the best damn pulled pork recipe i’ve ever made. Yes, you read that correctly. And it’s made in an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker!
Pulled pork is something you always see on those barbecue competition shows where people go to great lengths to prepare and cook with all kinds of methods. Most often, these methods require huge pieces of equipment, lots of space (outdoor space), and a ton of time and commitment to make. Now don’t get me wrong, you have an opportunity to sink you teeth into pork that’s been cooked this way, it’s an experience that’s simply a festival of flavor you’ll never forget. Many of the best real BBQ joints will start making their pulled pork days ahead of time and when it’s ready to eat, people line up. And when these places run out of food for the day, that’s it until next time.
In the last couple of years, along comes electric pressure cookers such as the Instant Pot and people go crazy for these things! And there’s a reason for that – because they open up all new possibilities for making incredible food. Pulled pork is tops on my list of favorite foods to make with an Instant Pot. From start to finish, it can be done in under 2 hours. No kidding!
We start with a pork butt roast. You can get either bone-in or boneless. If you find ones that are vacuum packed and the packaging indicates that the pork contains a 12% solution, this means that the roast is brined. Those are the best to use. Meat is brined this way to maintain tenderness and juiciness. You can always make your own brine, but that’s a topic for another day. Go with the brined meat if you can. If the meat has a noticeable fat layer on it, you’ll want to cut that off. I generally like to use a roast that’s 4lbs. I cut the meat into 4 pieces of equal size, cutting out the bone if it has one.
Start with a good rub
Our pulled pork will be getting it’s flavor start by applying a rub. We use simple ingredients that include brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, ground mustard, salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and add the pieces of pork. Use your hands and toss it all together for a couple of minutes. Make sure that seasoning mixture is well incorporated into the meat.
Sear the meat
Barbecue flavors can be complex and one of the keys of great BBQ is the slow roasting/smoking of the meat. Since we can’t do that, we’ll create complex flavors of our own by searing the meat. We do this by adding 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the Instant Pot and setting it to the saute mode. Once it’s hot, we carefully add our chunks of pork. I generally like to do 2 chunks at a time. It’s just much easier to work with in batches like this. Use tongs and gently place the chunks into the hot oil. Let the meat sear for about 2 minutes and turn over to get the other side for another couple of minutes. Get the sides too if possible. After searing the meat, remove from Instant Pot and set aside on a plate. We then need to deglaze the pot. This is very important! After sauteing, press cancel and add ½ cup of chicken broth to the pot. Use a wooden spoon and scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pot. It should take about a minute or so. Make sure to get it all and do not discard anything! All this goodness is part of the flavor for our pulled pork.
Pressure cook with Chicken Broth
Chicken broth is the perfect liquid for pressure cooking pork. It adds flavor that you simply cannot get with water. To round out the flavors, we’ll be adding some Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke. These flavors work together to bring about a boldness and savory aspect that you’d normally get from the smoking/slow roasting methods of traditional BBQ. Naturally we’re going to emulate those flavors and the combination of Worcestershire and Liquid Smoke in the pressure cooker works wonders.
After you’ve deglazed the pot, add the rest of the wet ingredients and place the chunks of pork directly into the liquid. Don’t stack it, spread it out as best possible. Secure the lid, close the vent and pressure cook on high for 1 hour. After the hour is up, let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes you can quick release any remaining pressure.
Pull the Pork
Carefully remove the chunks of pork from the Instant Pot to a large bowl. The pieces may fall apart and that’s just fine. Once all the pork pieces are in a bowl, use two forks to shred the pieces.
Add favorite BBQ Sauce and Serve
At this point, your pulled pork will already be full of flavor. Just try a piece and you will be amazed! You can serve just like this (with some of the juice from the pot drizzled in). Or, you can add your favorite BBQ sauce. Add the sauce in small amounts to start. You don’t want the pork swimming in the sauce, but rather the sauce complimenting the pork.
One of my very favorite ways to enjoy pulled pork is with some BBQ sauce and heaped onto a good piece of white bread. Use a fork to enjoyed this open-faced sandwich approach. Add a little coleslaw on top too for added flavor and texture. Be sure to have some pickle slices on the side too.
Want to try this recipe with chicken? Check out our recipe for The Best Damn Instant Pot Pulled Chicken!Print
Best Damn Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
- Yield: 6-8 servings
The most amazing, tender, juicy and delicious Instant Pot pulled pork recipe.
- 4lb Pork Butt Roast, boneless or bone-in
- 3 tbs light brown sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 2 tbs olive oil
- ½ – 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce.
- Trim fat from pork roast and cut into 4 same size chunks.
- Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together. Add pork roast chunks to rub mix and coat well.
- Add 2 tbs olive oil to Instant Pot and set to saute. Once it indicates hot, add 2 pieces of the pork. Sear on each side for about 2 minutes each. Remove pork and set aside on a plate. Repeat with remaining pork pieces.
- Once pork is seared and removed from pot, press cancel and add ½ cup chicken broth. Use a wooden spoon and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Make sure to scrape up all the bits. Then add remaining chicken broth. Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke.
- Place pork chunks directly into the liquid in the pot, spacing out as best possible. Secure lid and make sure vent is set to sealing. Pressure cook/manual on high pressure for 60 minutes.Then let pressure release naturally for 20 minutes or until pin drops.
- Remove pork to a large bowl and shred with 2 forks. Add your favorite BBQ sauce as desired. Or use the juice from the Instant Pot – it’s loaded with awesome flavor!
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 60 mins
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Pressure cooker
- Cuisine: American BBQ
Keywords: instant pot, pulled pork
Aptly named – damn good! It’s a crowd pleaser.
Following recipe (mostly) for first time. I added vinegar, two large onions, 7 tablespoons of coconut sugar (which is low glycemic), and substituted a can of diced tomatoes for (my favorite bbq sauce) on the theory that the extra sugar, garlic powder, vinegar and tomatoes would combine effectively as a bbq sauce. I added Two kinds of vinegar- Balsamic vinegar for its sweet ness, and Japanese vinegar for its tangy flavor. I added a generous amount of Extreme hot ground (by me) Mexican hot 🌶️. I’m aiming for sweet, tangy, savory, spicy! Oh and I used a bone in pork shoulder cut mostly into chunks and the fat skin cut out before cooking (there is plenty of Fat marble so it’s not necessary). Anyway, the recipe above is a guideline, and my changes are my personal experience. If I thought more, I would have made this Vietnamese Spice style (adding all Spice, star anise, cloves and cinnamon!). Try those three spices with ANY meat and it’s incredible.
I’ve made this pulled pork a few times and absolutely loved it as did everyone who ate it. My son smokes pork butt and other meats in a smoker all the time and always makes outstandingly masterful meat. I gave his family some of mine and he highly complimented this pulled pork as “just about as good as his” and I didn’t even have to attend to a smoker for hours and hours! Thank you for sharing your recipe.
Craig P Williams
Made it a number of times as is and some additions. The main difference is I DON:T add any Sauce to the meat, I often DOUBLE the rub to make ceratin that all the meat is covered and barky after browning. After it is done cookin, drain the fat, boil down the remaining juices and concentrate them a bit till their natural and incorporated flavors are forward add a TINY bit of salt where needed. Make this right and it needs no sauce or added flavor it is downright amazing. I make it at least 12 times a year and serve it at nearly every party I have, it really is true to it’s name.
If you are like me and like a bit of heat add a dash of red pepper flakes and if you are really crazy about heat a little cajum spices to the rub but it is a deleacte thing to manage because cajun spice can quickly destroy all the other flavors.
Thanks for this it is wonderful.
So delicious and so easy. Thank you!!
We loved this! It was great, with or without the barbecue sauce! Will add to my dinner recipes list!1
This pulled pork recipe is amazing! The pork comes out so tender, juicy and flavorful! 😋
Had the in-laws over for dinner and they couldn’t get enough!
Its delicious 😋 my family really enjoyed it
Omg so good!